Rathcoole incident sparks police warning over misuse of laser pens

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Police are warning of the dangers of misusing laser pens following an incident in Newtownabbey on Saturday evening, August 15.

At around 10.45pm a laser type pen was shone in the direction of a passing aircraft.

Police believe that the laser was shone from somewhere in the Rathcoole area.

“Not only is it an offence under the Air Navigation Order to endanger aircraft, but it is highly irresponsible and dangerous,” said Superintendent Muir Clark.

“Lasers can cause temporary blindness and where pilots are concerned, this could result in a catastrophe and possibly lead to significant loss of life.

“Those involved in this type of activity need to be mindful of the impact which their behaviour could have. Those involved could face charges of being in possession of a dangerous weapon.

“If you use lasers in this way, you must be prepared to face the consequences,” he added.

North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley said there needs to be greater awareness of the dangers of misusing laser pens.

“I think there is a considerable lack of awareness regarding the misuse of laser pens and the potentially catastrophic consequences when directed at aircraft.

“I would call on local parents to highlight to their children the dangers of misusing these devices, which could lead to a criminal conviction.

“These devices are not toys and should not be treated as such,” she commented.